Wow. What a huge, huge bombshell in the mobile world. We honestly can't think of anything more astounding than this since the launch of the original iPhone, and it has the potential to completely change the competitive landscape as we know it. Currently, iOS and Android run the smartphone show. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is lagging around in the background, but it's hardly considered a very serious contender when it comes to market share. Nokia, meanwhile, has lost almost all of their momentum in the smartphone space, particularly in North America. So, what are the two lagging companies to do? Join forces and take on the big boys!
Announced today in London, Nokia plans to team with Microsoft to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem. Furthermore, Nokia and Microsoft plan to work together to integrate key assets and create completely new service offerings, while extending established products and services to new markets. But here's the important part: Nokia is going to adopt Windows Phone as their "principle smartphone strategy," rather than continuing to support a dead operating system known by the name of Symbian.
Nokia fanatics are up in arms about this news, but it makes perfect sense. Nokia has fallen so far behind that there's simply no conceivable way that they could catch up to Android and iOS now. The only real option to stay in the game at all is to partner with Microsoft and hope to survive in 3rd place, while shooting for an even higher ranking. This really means that Nokia phones will be coming in time with Windows Phone on them, with the two companies sharing a roadmap and working together to collaborate on joint marketing initiatives.
Nokia has committed to "driving the future" of Windows Phone, and with the company's global reach, they may be able to push Windows Phone into markets that Microsoft would have a difficult time penetrating on their own. Of course, Microsoft has established that Bing will be the native search engine on Nokia devices, and their adCenter would provide search advertising services on Nokia's line of devices and services. To compete with Google Maps Navigation, Nokia Maps would be a core part of Microsoft's mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft's Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience.
Nokia's content and application store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience, but this may mean that Ovi Store is also dead. Meanwhile, MeeGo probably won't ever be the OS that Nokia hoped it would be. It's being relegated to an "experimental learning platform," so we wouldn't expect a great deal of devices to ship with MeeGo in the coming months; rather, Nokia will just use it to practice on things that they may import into Windows Phone, as an example.
It's also hard to tell when new Nokia phones will ship with Windows Phone 7 onboard; we're guessing it'll take a year or so to really iron things out, but hopefully it'll be sooner. No question, the mobile landscape just got a lot more interesting. Have a look at the full announcement below.